Lightning Myths....

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by DeathStar1, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    Listening to a day old radio broadcast, and I came across this story...

    The DJ's found a story where a lady was doing religious stuff outside, and either got struck, or brushed by lightning. She was in doors, the Lightning hit the house across the street, traveled through the pipeing system, and I guess it was out her pipes in to the house, and out the side wall..

    So, questions...

    Is there really any safe place to be from lightning? Why, after 1,000+ years of humanity have we not yet thought of a true way to be totaly lightning safe?
    It's only 500,000 heat degrees of volts [​IMG]
     
  2. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    That's one foggy post. Was the lady outside or indoors? You seem to be saying both.

    The mechanisms of lightning are pretty well understood. Much like most natural phenomena, there is little guaranty that one can be 100% safe from their occurence. Or from just about anything in this life, natural or man-made. The overwhelming majority of people and buildings will never be struck my lightning in their lifetimes. I can live with those odds.

    I admit the point of this post eludes me. And what's the relation with the title?

    --
    H
     
  3. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

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    You can't control Mother Nature that's why. [​IMG]
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    When I was a kid, we were in the living room (during an electrical storm) and this small lightning bolt went from the ceiling to the floor...my mom was in the basement (just below the living room) and said she saw the same thing too, in the exact same area that we saw the upstairs bolt. This 'bolt' went right through the house.

    Granted, it wasn't what I'd consider a "lightning bolt"...it may have even just been some sort of suped up static charge, but it sure was freaky!
     
  5. DeathStar1

    DeathStar1 Producer

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    I admit the point of this post eludes me. And what's the relation with the title?>>

    My bad. She was indoors when this happened. THe lightning hit the neighbors house , traveled through the pipes across the street, exited through the piping in her house(probably a sink), and struck near her through the wall she was standing next too...


    Just wondering if there has been prrof on what you should and shouldn't do during a lightning storm in order to protect yourself....or if it's all a bunch of balogney, and your not safe no matter where you are [​IMG]..
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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  7. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    My Mum is adamant that lightning can come in the house through open windows, travel through the water pipes and come of faucets and get you through the phone lines.

    I called BS on all of these, but I have to admit, I have no proof one way or the other.

    Never mind, apparantly Mum is right, as Mark has so quickly posted.
     
  8. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I nearly took a direct hit about 15 years ago at college. We were having an electrical storm and I decided to walk to class anyway. I was walking from the dorm across a pretty open area that had some fairly young trees as the highest points.

    I was walking about 10 feet from one of the trees (which were about 10-12 feet tall and a trunk about 3-4 inches in diameter) when it got hit by lighting. The following was a blur. I didn't even see the flash but it felt like someone had taken a stack of books and whacked me on top of the head. It knocked me to the ground. I immediately realized what happened and ran into the nearest building REALLY shook up and probably on the verge of shock. I made a trip to the on campus physician, but I was fine.

    The tree wasn't so lucky. There were pieces of it's trunk flung as far as 20-30 feet away. It didn't survive.

    To this day I am just starting to get comfortable with being outside when there is any lightning, even in the distance. For years afterwards I wouldn't go outside if it were lightning. The times I have to, for example walking into work when it is storming from the parking lot, still make me nervous. I feel like at any second a bolt is going to come out of the sky and strike. It's a fear I never really had before unless it was a really bad storm. Now I feel that was always.

    Strangely, I've always had this 'memory' of the strike as if I was watching it from outside my body and from above. I'm not sure what that's all about. I still wish I could figure out what the feeling of being hit on the top of the head was caused by. Air pressure or something? I just don't know.
     
  9. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    I know you put the + sign there but that seems like an awfully low number to start with.

    Lightning scares the bejeesus out of me and when we have a storm with it come through I make sure all my electronic equipment and cable TV/internet are unplugged and I stay the hell away from the doors and windows. Plus, I don't get anywhere near any bathroom or kitchen fixtures.

    When I was a kid my aunt had a sheepdog and it was taking a leak on a tree that was struck by lightning. Needless to say the dog didn't survive.
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Yeah man, even in Kansas they peg it at around 6000 years.

    --
    H
     
  11. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I know they tested this myth on Mythbusters, and if I recall, the confirmed that electric wiring and drain, etc. can be dangerous conductors when a house is struck by lightning.
     
  12. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    A man we know was playing golf last week as a storm moved in; he and his golf partner ran under a tree as rain began; then lightning struck the tree, killing one and leaving the other paralyzed with no signs of recovering at this point. Lightning is wicked. There are things to reduce your exposure but running under a tree for protection from a storm isn't one of'em.
     
  13. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    [​IMG] I am petrified of being outside during lightning storms, the sight of a lightning bolt when i'm outside stops me in my tracks and I freeze up, I don't start crying or freaking out or anything like that, I just freeze and I can't move.

    I can feel the power coming from it, the charge in the air all around me and just knowing that I could indeed be struck at any moment scares the shit out of me and I need to get indoors asap. My brother gives me a hard time about it, but hey, people DO get struck, it happens...and it could happen to me.

    Yep, out of my phobias, lightning ranks high as one that truly terrifies me if i'm out in it. I tell my brother "Well, excuse me for being just a tad intimidated by nature." [​IMG]
     
  14. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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    When I was a youngster, our hot water heater (in the corner of the kitchen) was struck by lightning. It went through a metal canister which was sitting on top of the hot water heater, burning/melting a hole completely through the plastic top and the metal bottom of the canister and charring a large section of the enamel on the top surface of the heater. We were all in the living room at the time, and we heard a huge crack and sizzle, and then we saw a spark...it looked just like a lit traveling fuse...came around the corner from the kitchen into the living room and went around the baseboards of three walls before it fizzled out. Apparently it was traveling along the path of the electrical wiring. No major damage to anything other than the hot water heater (thank heavens!)...only a few scorched spots along the path it had traveled. It was an amazing...and extremely frightening...thing to witness. Only afterwards did we discover the damage to the hot water heater, and that's when we realized what had happened. When it all sunk in...and we thought about what COULD have happened...we considered ourselves very, very fortunate. We could just as easily have lost our home that night.

    When I was a teenager, I was at a cookout with friends when a storm started moving in. Three of us were close together (maybe 4 or 5 feet between each of us) helping to gather things up to move the proceedings inside, when all three of us suddenly felt the heat, the static, and the terrifying percussion from what we believe to have been a direct ground strike just a few feet away from us. Scared the daylights out of all of us.

    And two years ago last week, a transformer on a pole in the front corner of our property sustained a direct lightning strike. There were shards of the zapped transformer all over our front yard, and a few pieces even landed on our roof. If anybody had been outside when it happened, I hate to think what would have happened. We have the surge protection equipment from the electric company outside the house (a service for which we pay extra, of course), and all of our major equipment and electronics are gaurded by heavy-duty consumer-level surge protectors. But this direct strike so close by cost us one desktop computer (which was connected via a 950-watt UPS battery backup/surge protector, which was also fried), one laptop, four phones, two answering machines, two caller-ID units, three VCRs, the lighting sensors in four outdoor security lights (one of which appeared to have totally exploded, and another of which partially melted), and two of our four electric garage door systems. By a sheer miracle, the VCRs were the only audio-video equipment affected...the TVs, DVD players, and the HT system were all fine. Thank heavens for good homeowners' insurance.

    I lost another computer 8 or 9 years ago when lighting came in through the phone line connected to the modem. I had a surge protector, but that was before phone/modem-line protection was a common feature, and, alas, my surge protector did not have it.

    Believe me...I have a VERY healthy respect for lighting.
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    This thread is making me rethink my nostalgia for the thunderstorms I experienced growing up in Denver (very few thunderstorms around here in California).
     
  16. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    I'll say this for lightning, it is one of natures more spectacular displays. We make such a big deal out of 4th of July fireworks and we tend to take lightning, the Earth's greatest lightshow, for granted.

    Next time you have one, just sit at the window and look at it, it's quite amazing when you stop and ponder it. One summer I went to Great Adventure with some friends and about 2hrs after getting there, dark, ominous storm clouds started to creep into the area, then when it got dark I saw some of the most spectacular lightning i've ever seen! Since we were so close to the ocean, lightning wasn't just going up and down in the sky, it was slicing ACROSS it!

    Sheer adrenalin got me to the car to take shelter.
     
  17. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    About Mythbusters. I remember that episode. They did a complete mock-up of a house, including electrical wiring, to simulate what happens when lightning strikes. They did the test with the ground attached and detached from the house's electrical system. When it was detached, the electrical arc generated by the power company test center jumped off a wire and hit the shower pipe!

    The best protection? Properly grounded electrical wiring and one of Benjamin Franklin's lightning rods. [​IMG]
     
  18. Marianne

    Marianne Supporting Actor

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    Stay in your car, it acts like a Faraday Cage.

    If you are caught out in the open don't get under a tree. Apparently you should crouch down on your feet and keep your head low. If lightning hits you it should pass through your lower back and feet without going through your head!
     
  19. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    YOUCH! I bet that would feel nice. [​IMG]
     
  20. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    I used to go mountain climbing in Washington, Oregon & California. It would take an incredible leap of faith to follow the suggested lightning storm guidelines.

    If a lightning storm occurs while you’re part way up the mountain they suggest that you sit on the tallest nearby rock outcropping. This is because lightning is most likely going to hit somewhere near the mountaintop and travel down the sides of the mountain. If you are sitting on a rock outcropping, the lightning may pass under you.
     

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